Natural skin care ingredients can sometimes read like a menu for a healthy diet. You may have even been tempted to eat some of your natural skincare products (just us?). Not sure if this is a good idea, but there is definitely some overlap between the plant-based ingredients in your products and the plants we find on our plates.
And there’s good reason for this. The plants we eat are dense with nutrients to give our organs everything they need to function smoothly. Vitamins, minerals, fats, proteins, enzymes, and other chemical compounds found in foods also get incorporated into our skin cells after we digest them. But applying them to our skin directly eliminates one step and gets the job done quicker.
One difference is that when we use plants in skin care, the ingredients are typically not in the same exact form as their food counterparts. This is because we take the best parts of the plant with the most beneficial nutrients and create extracts and oils your skin can easily absorb and use.
There’s no doubt that eating a healthy diet loaded with fruits and veggies and other plants will help your skin thrive. And we know that pure plant extracts and oils can do wonders for your skin topically. So why not do both and reap the rewards inside and out?
Here’s a rundown of ten of the best foods that also make excellent natural skincare ingredients. You’ll find nutrition information for each food and the benefits they provide for your skin when applied directly. If you get hungry while reading it, you can always use this list to make a delicious skincare salad. Bon appetit!
Avocados are the creamiest fruit on the planet. And they really pack a punch when it comes to nutrition. First, their thick rich flesh is loaded with the healthiest kind of fat, primarily monounsaturated and polyunsaturated. Second, they contain a generous helping of fiber, which is excellent for your gut, blood sugar levels, and cholesterol. We can’t forget about the incredible amount of other nutrients, like vitamins B, C, D, E, K and folate, potassium, magnesium, and carotenoids. Truly a super addition to your diet!
Though its own skin may look bumpy and rough like an alligator’s, avocado will only do wonderful things for your skin. The rich oil from avocado makes it a winner as an emollient, helping to smooth and repair damaged skin. It also has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties which means it’s a powerful healing oil that can help calm sensitive skin and revitalize aging skin. The benefits are nearly endless, and it’s good for almost every skin type.
It’s hard to resist the crunch of a fresh carrot. But the crunch is just the beginning. This orange rooty vegetable is known for its high supply of beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A in our bodies. Though they’re mostly water, they also have a good amount of fiber and other vitamins like biotin and B6. A nutritious and delicious staple in salad and soup.
In skincare, it’s the carrot seed oil that does the magic. One of the most potent antioxidant ingredients due to plenty of carotenoids, which make it excellent for skin repair and cell renewal. Add to it some vitamin C for more power to repair, and E, a deep moisturizer that heals damage and scars. Great for all skin types and it’s a key ingredient in our Reparative Serum.
There’s so much to love about coconut oil, which is why it has risen to a high point of popularity in the past few years. It has become the go-to fat for cooking for many because of its unique fat profile. While coconut oil is a saturated fat, it’s made up of medium-chain triglycerides which are absorbed differently in the body. Research offers some mixed results about whether it’s better for you than other veggie oils, but it is clear there are still benefits to eating this oil in moderation.
Coconut oil is fantastic for smoothing and moisturizing and it also helps your skin hold its moisture in. It also has calming properties that make it great for sensitive skin prone to irritation. Coconut oil can also protect skin from the environment and is said to have sun protection equivalent to about SPF 4-8.
The low calories in grapefruit made it a prime candidate for weight-loss diets way back when. But it also provides a high dose of vitamin C and A, an array of minerals, and gut-healthy fiber. There’s also evidence that it can help prevent insulin resistance and diabetes and may improve heart health. It high on the list of healthy fruits to eat!
A great source of vitamin C, grapefruit extract helps fight aging with its antioxidant powers and collagen-boosting abilities. It also helps brighten and smooth skin as it helps slough off dull, dead skin cells. And it makes an excellent natural preservative for skin care products.
As far as sweeteners go, honey is one of the most nutritious and beneficial. The three main properties that make honey so appealing are anti-inflammation, antioxidant, and antibacterial (not to mention it’s delicious). That’s due to honey (especially if it’s raw) containing a variety of micronutrients, enzymes, amino acids, and plenty of plant compounds. No spot of tea is complete without it.
Honey is a natural humectant that attracts water and helps your skin retain its moisture. It also provides all the benefits of the three properties mentioned above, which makes it great for soothing skin, repairing damage, and keeping bacteria in balance.
Macadamia nuts are especially buttery and creamy tasting and rich in high-quality healthy fat. They have all the benefits of many other kinds of nuts – they’re good for your heart, digestion, weight management, and blood sugar control – but they’re lower in carbs than a lot of others. (Try a healthy version of white chocolate macadamia nut cookies right here!)
If you want to give your skin a super-rich emollient treat, macadamia nut oil should be your top choice. This oil is particularly high in palmitoleic acid, which acts a lot like human sebum and gets absorbed quickly and easily. This fatty acid protects, prevents moisture from escaping, and has healing effects perfect for mature skin.
Oats are heart-healthy grains that are also extremely versatile. Breakfast is the most common time to eat them, but they can be a fabulous addition to many recipes as a gluten-free ingredient. They’re well known for their abundance of fiber and “good carbs” and their ability to help with blood sugar, cholesterol, and blood pressure. Their nutrient profile is off the charts too, with vitamins, minerals, phytonutrients, and antioxidants galore.
Oats, mainly ground up as a meal or powder or used as an extract, have been used to soothe irritated or itchy skin for ages. This makes it a great choice for calming skin conditions like dermatitis, eczema, very dry and sensitive skin. They also help protect, cleanse, and moisturize.
Seaweed is a recent superstar in the health-food world. Dubbed a superfood, this sea vegetation has an impressive line-up of nutrients and is especially prized for its iodine content. But it also has everything from protein to fiber to vitamins to phytonutrients to antioxidants. Types of seaweed include nori, kelp, dulse, and chlorella. You’ll see it popping up in your local health-food store in powder, pill, and snack form.
Seaweed is notable for its ability to improve the elasticity of your skin as amino acids and antioxidants help build collagen. It also helps to plump the skin as it attracts water and smooths out lines and wrinkles for a younger-looking complexion. An excellent hydrator, seaweed also contains essential fatty acids to maintain a healthy barrier and keep moisture in.
Sesame seeds are high in good fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated), fiber, protein, magnesium, and other vitamins and minerals. These nutrients make it potentially good for heart health, digestive health, and bone and joint health. They might not be a common snack, but sesame oil is great for cooking, especially in Asian dishes. Tahini is another source of sesame seeds used in hummus and dressings. It’s best to eat sesame seeds soaked, roasted, or sprouted to get the full benefit.
The oil of the sesame seed is a nutrient-rich skincare ingredient that’s excellent for smoothing, moisturizing, and healing. Vitamin E in sesame oil is also helpful for reducing scars and acts as a powerful antioxidant to repair damage. A balance of fatty acids like oleic and palmitic keep skin supple and hydrated. It’s also non-comedogenic and works well for acne-prone skin.
Wheat germ is another fabulous source of fiber, protein, and healthy fats. It’s touted for having heart health benefits and helping maintain a healthy weight. It’s also high in vitamin E, which has antioxidant properties to help fight free radicals that cause disease. Great in a smoothie or on cereal.
Wheat germ oil is an excellent ingredient in skin care because it can absorb directly and easily into the skin. Vitamins A, D, and E help smooth, moisturize, and soften skin while also protecting skin from environmental damage. Great for reducing signs of aging and hydrating dry skin.
A healthy diet and a healthy skincare routine go hand in hand. These foods and ingredients are rich in vital nutrients to keep your body and your skin in tip-top shape. A natural skincare routine is the perfect compliment to eating well and living a healthy life.
Be sure to check out our products with all-natural organic ingredients you’ll love!